Pete Buttigieg says ‘historic levels of funding’ are coming to Kansas City to repair bridges and roads | KCUR 89.3

With the Rock Island Bridge as a backdrop, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Friday touted the Biden administration’s decision A trillion dollar infrastructure bill to fund improvements such as roads, bridges and public transportation in places like Kansas City, Kansas.

Much of the money will go towards repairs to sick bridges like the Central Avenue Bridge over the Kansas River. Buttigieg said the bill would deploy “historic levels of funding” to modernize transportation.

“Here, it will help us build more electric buses to help children get to school without being exposed to toxic fumes. It will help us develop public transport to speed up travel and ease traffic. “, Buttigieg said at a press conference. “And most importantly, it will create this generation of well-paying union jobs on everything from replacing lead pipes to fixing these bridges to installing loaders of electric vehicles.”

The Ministry of Transport has launched a bridge financing program this month, which will provide $26.5 billion over five years, the largest investment for bridges since the construction of the Interstate Highway System under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Bridge repairs are needed in states like Kansas and Missouri, where trucks haul loads of goods and commerce over highways and bridges. U.S. Representative Sharice Davids, whose district includes Wyandotte and Johnson counties, cited the Avenida Cesar E Chavez Bridge, which sits behind the Rock Island Bridge, as needing repairs.

“Because the Central Avenue Bridge was closed last year, for fear of failure, that bridge worked a lot of overtime,” Davids said. “And it needs upgrading to keep up with demand. And we’re going to have to add, and we want to add, accessibility for bicycles and pedestrians. »

The city has different plans for the Rock Island Bridge. The Unified Government is investing $2 million to develop the bridge in a commercial and public space that includes restaurants, gardens, cafes and bike paths.

“It’s going to bring even more of that life and that culture and that vibrancy…to our interstate connection that we have,” Davids said. “We’re going to see people from Armourdale, from neighborhoods in the West Bottoms, celebrating local businesses, getting a chance to connect with each other.”

Celisa Calacal

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KCUR 89.3

The Rock Island Bridge over the Kansas River in Kansas City, Kansas. City officials plan to turn the historic bridge into an entertainment and recreation area that includes restaurants, bike paths and gardens.

Kansas should get $225 million of the infrastructure bill over five years, including $45 million for fiscal year 2022. Much of that money will be used to fix more than 1,300 bridges across the state that are in disrepair, the secretary said. to Kansas Transportation, Julie Lorenz.

Some 732 bridges in Kansas’ third congressional district alone need repairs, according to a report Davids published last October. Among these bridges, 21 are considered to be in poor condition by the Ministry of Transport.

“Six of the 10 busiest structurally deficient bridges in the state are in the Kansas City area,” Lorenz said. “The investment we need in our aging infrastructure couldn’t have come at a better time.

Missouri expects to receive $9 billion over five years for highway and bridge improvements. In one interview Last November, in KCUR’s Up to Date, Pat McKenna, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, said some areas being considered for improvements include I-70 from downtown Kansas City to I-435; I-29 and the I-35 corridor in Clay County; and I-70 and Missouri 131 in Lafayette County.

Buttigieg’s visit came on the same day as a collapsed bridge in Pittsburgh, which President Biden was scheduled to visit on Friday.

“This is a very stark reminder of many just how urgent it is to invest in America’s infrastructure,” Buttigieg said.

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